Two Associates of La Cosa Nostra Plead Guilty to Extortion-Related Charges
Two associates of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra (LCN) crime family pleaded guilty today to extortion-related charges.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts; Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw of the of the FBI Boston Division and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today.
Ralph Santaniello, 50, and Giovanni Calabrese, 54, both of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, each pleaded guilty to two counts of Interference with Commerce by Threats or Violence and two counts of Using Extortionate Means to Collect an Extension of Credit. Santaniello and Calabrese are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29, 2018 and Jan. 30, 2018, respectively, before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman. Santaniello and Calabrese were arrested and charged in August 2016 along with three other associates, Gerald Daniele, Francesco Depergola, and Richard Valentini.
According to the indictment, in conducting their illegal activities, Santaniello and Calabrese used violence and, exploiting what the victims believed to be their relationship with the Genovese La Cosa Nostra Crime Family, implied threats of physical violence and death to instill fear in their victims.
In 2013, Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola, and Valentini allegedly attempted to extort money from a Springfield businessman. Santaniello assaulted the businessman and threatened to cut off his head and bury his body if he did not pay. Over a period of four months, the businessman paid $20,000 to Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola, and Valentini to protect himself and his business.
In 2015, a Springfield resident took a gambling loan in the amount of $3,700 from an indicted co-conspirator. During a six-month period, the man was threatened that if he did not make payments, the total amount of the loan increased to $5,000 without notice or justification. Santaniello and Calabrese assisted the co-conspirator in the collection of the loan.
Trial Attorney Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Kevin O’Regan, Chief of Weinreb’s Springfield Branch Office are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.